We pledged that no one would lose their home due to the coronavirus pandemic and we’ve also said that we will keep residents safe, keep vital services running and help communities to cope and recover. Thanks to the excellent foundations we have in place we have been able to bring forward more than £200,000 in funding as well keeping our usual services running.
Employment and training are essential tools when it comes to supporting our residents. In 2019-20 we helped 74 residents with their IT skills, or with IT equipment, boosting digital ability and enabling people to get going online.
We saw 277 people get into work or better work after talking with our teams. But employment isn’t always the first step. Supporting residents to gain confidence and an understanding of the way that their skills can be transferred to the working world is also an essential part of our service, as is supporting them to find the best ways to budget and manage their money.
Last year, our expert tenancy support team also handled nearly 2,500 calls a month referrals from customers looking for advice about paying their rent, with 400 calls a month about transferring to Universal Credit (UC).
Over 10,000 of our customers received UC in 2019-20, but forward-looking interventions by our highly trained team helped bring arrears for UC recipients down to £300 on average, compared to non-UC cases at £286. This training and expertise stood them in good stead as coronavirus affected the employment status of thousands of people who had never claimed benefits before.
We also looked more closely at how we could help end homelessness and began employing the Housing First model. This is where people who have been homeless for a long time, often living on the streets, often with complex medical or psychological backgrounds, are given a home – a permanent place to call their own.